14 May 2008

Antonioni Park

I have been admiring the good resolution available in London , which now allows you to zoom right in. At the closest resolution, there is a nice analogue grain to the image, which had me thinking about Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 movie Blow-Up. The film has the main protagonist obsessively making photographic enlargements to try and confirm a murder he may have inadvertently documented but the details are elusively lost in the grain. As Wikipedia puts it: "Ultimately, the film is about reality and how we perceive it or think we perceive it." Although I can't recall the exact geography of the park in the movie, as far as I can tell, the murder took place HERE.

The Wikipedia Blow-Up entry also provides a link to this resource, which is a database of film locations. There is something quite interesting about the slippage between depicted fictional cinematic space and the actual spaces where these scenarios were filmed. Such as the way The Last Samurai used MOUNT TARANAKI in New Zealand as a stand-in for MT FUJI in Japan.

1 May 2008

Soft Sculpture

The front page of today's NZ Herald has the interesting story of three activists bursting one of the bubbles that protected the notorious WAIHOPAI SPY BASE near Blenheim and denuding the satellite dish hidden within. It wasn't that long ago that the NZ government denied that it even has such a facility, let alone was using it as part of an international intelligence network shared with other countries including the USA. It is commonly thought that the base is used to eavesdrop on civilian communications, and even UN diplomats.

The story concludes: Global Peace and Justice Auckland spokesperson John Minto said the photo of the deflated dome was a "powerful symbol of resistance to New Zealand's role in supporting the so-called war on terror being waged by the US".

Photographing or giving detailed locations of such places would have once been a matter of national security. Taking a photo of a US navy boat in port can still get you arrested. But the entire fleet of any country's security forces are now there for the finding on GOOGLE MAPS. A bit like British Artist Fiona Banner's project, All the World's Fighter Planes.


Art from Space is an exploration of art-related phenomena that manifests in interesting ways on Google’s aerial maps. It is also an experiment in curatorial practice; collecting, presenting and contextualising items in ways that users can explore, free of curator-imposed framing and sequencing. This blog is Art from Space’s developmental musings made public, where items are introduced to the project in real time, rather than awaiting the grand unveiling of a completed exhibition. Specific locations of interest are highlighted in CAPS and linked to a map for further exploration. Visit the mother ship HERE.